Atalanta's Masiello arrested in match-fixing probe
Atalanta defender Andrea Masiello has been arrested after reportedly admitting his part in the ongoing Italian probe into match-fixing, and eight of his former Bari teammates are under investigation, the Italian football federation said Monday.
The federation called the arrests "sensational developments" and promised to take "swift action" against the players if they are found guilty.
Bari's last nine matches in Serie A last season are being looked into, according to the federation, including the derby in which Masiello's own goal helped Lecce win 2-0 to avoid relegation after Bari had already been relegated.
According to Italian news agency ANSA, Masiello admitted that he scored the own goal on purpose in order to receive C180,000.
ANSA reported that Masiello sent a written note to Bari prosecutors last week, saying that "I want to add that when the result was 1-0 to Lecce, I took advantage of an opportunity that was given to me so that I could definitely secure Bari's defeat and so I could get the payment promised to me, thus scoring the own goal which sealed the match."
Bari's match at Udinese in May 2010 is also under suspicion.
"Several Bari footballers at the end of the 2010-11 season were more or less 'on the market,' not in the footballing sense of the term, normally referring to the buying and selling of players in the summer, but in the lesser meaning of the expression," Bari judge Giovanni Abbattista said in a 93-page document. "Some of the beloved of the stadio San Nicola's Curva Nord were ready to make mercenaries of their own sporting displays for the best offer in order to get money."
Italian media identified the other players under investigation as Daniele Portanova, Alessandro Parisi, Simone Bentivoglio, Marco Rossi, Abdelkader Ghezzal, Marco Esposito, Antonio Bellavista and Nicola Belmonte.
"There will be zero tolerance and swift action by the sporting justice to clean up and pinpoint all those responsible," Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete said.
He said the federation's prosecutors are working with authorities in Cremona and Bari, and are hoping to file the first charges by the end of April.
According to media reports, Masiello was arrested by the Carabinieri national police in his home in Bergamo in the early hours of Monday morning and taken to Bari. Two of Masiello's friends, Giovanni Carella and Fabio Giacobbe, were also arrested.
The charges are criminal association and fraud.
Masiello spent three and a half years at Bari before moving to Atalanta last summer.
Since the first wave of 16 arrests in June, more than 30 people have been arrested, including former Atalanta captain Cristiano Doni and former Lazio captain Giuseppe Signori.